Legal Search Marketing – 2010 Best Practices for Lawyers and Law Firms

Competition among lawyers, especially in today’s business environment, is as fierce as ever. As a sole practitioner or small law firm, every little advantage that you can create against competitors is going to benefit you. Many attorneys put themselves at a distinct disadvantage without even realizing it. For those attorneys who are not Internet savvy, here are three simple online marketing suggestions that address common mistakes, are easily implemented, and will give you an advantage over the competition.

1. What’s with that email address?

Even something as small and as simple as an e-mail address can have a large impact on your business when it comes to determining whether or not you are going to earn a new client’s business over the competition.

When the internet was first taking off a few years ago, nearly everyone was signing up to utilize free web based email services such as AOL.com, Verizon.com, Gmail.com, Yahoo.com, etc. These free, or generic, web-based email services were very convenient and were primarily created for individuals that wanted email accounts. Even if the account was created for small business purposes, it was acceptable then, but this has changed significantly in recent years.

Now that we have moved so far forward in the realm of digital business, something looks fishy if you are still using one of these free email service providers as your primary business e-mail address. In fact, you may actually be giving people the wrong idea about your law firm by telling them that you are not serious about what you do. Because it has become so important for attorneys to have websites, you should already have an email to correspond with your website name, meaning that there is absolutely no need for using a free web based service for your email needs.

Solution: The cost to coordinate your website address and your email address is no more than $20 – $50 per year. The positive business perception created with perspective clients make it worth every penny and then some.

2. You should really update your website…..Really.

In today’s Internet world, even clients who are referred to you by a colleague or previous client will eventually visit your website. What they find, may be their first impression of you and it may very well be the deciding factor as to whether they call you or the other attorney.

Your website is undoubtedly the most cost effective way to market your services. A website informs people of your services, experience, and credentials. It gives perspective clients a “sense” of who you are and what you can do for them. A website is accessible to nearly everyone. It is certainly available to everyone who is searching specifically for You. Your website is working 24/7 and since you own it and manage it, it conveys a message and an impression of who you are.

A website that has been neglected, and is out of date from both a content and design perspective will have a negative impact on how perspective clients view you. A website with bright colors, big fonts, and appears as though it was completed with the help from your 14 year old nephew, will not help you earn clients.

Solution: You may not frequent your website everyday, but keep in mind, perspective clients do. It makes sense to invest in the one resource that will effectively represent you and your services. It doesn’t have to cost big bucks; it just has to be done right.

3. LinkedIn is a reputable, professional networking resource.

If you were to choose one online networking resource, it should be LinkedIn. It does not cost anything to become a subscriber. Establishing an account is quick and easy. From a marketing perspective there is significant value in completing the narrative of your profile, and adding links back to your website.

The value of having a LinkedIn profile is not only establishing a professional network, as you can connect and keep up to date with colleagues, but it will also convey to “Internet generation” clients that you’re engaged.  Additionally, your LinkedIn profile will also show up in the search engine results which give you another online marketing resource in addition to your website.

Solution: Sign up and get started with LinkedIn by visiting: www.LinkedIn.com

Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.